3 Oceania Marina Cruise Reviews for Luxury Cruises to South Pacific from Santiago (Valparaiso)

We're seasoned cruisers (33 total - going all the way back to Grace Lines "Santa Rosa" in 1957), and this marked our first time aboard Oceania. We sailed on Marina from Valparaiso on 17 Dec & disembarked in Tahiti on 4 ... Read More
We're seasoned cruisers (33 total - going all the way back to Grace Lines "Santa Rosa" in 1957), and this marked our first time aboard Oceania. We sailed on Marina from Valparaiso on 17 Dec & disembarked in Tahiti on 4 Jan 2015. We'd booked our air through Oceania as well, and were quite concerned from the start that Oceania had cut the time to catch our connecting AA international flight from Miami to Santiago just a bit too close for comfort (80 minutes.) We were right: Murphy's Law!!! Our 16 Dec AA flight from Dallas to Miami was 30 minutes late taking off, and we were delayed an additional 30 minutes on the MIA tarmac waiting for a gate. Finally, once we rolled up at our assigned gate, we were advised that before we could disembark, we'd have to sit tight while a medical team came on board to check out a sick passenger. Bottom Line: If our connecting flight (from Bogota) had not arrived late itself, we'd have been SOL and would've likely missed our cruise!! Embarkation was fairly tedious, and included the fairly worthless health status declarations for both EBOLA and the flu. (If Oceania. or any other cruise line, were truly serious about preventing the spread of disease aboard their ships, they'd set up a dedicated ship's medical check-in station ashore ( a la Ellis Island), manned by the ship's doctor or nurses, and routinely take temperature scans, and quickly evaluate all passengers. (Some folks might be directed to go directly to sick bay for further eval, followed by quarantine in their cabins, for a few days to protect the health of all - or they'd be denied permission to board!!) On day two of the cruise, the captain announced over the ship's PA at midday that since 2% of the passengers and crew had already been diagnosed with a virus, that the ship would be initiating strict CDC procedures to combat it. Accommodations (9065 Concierge Veranda) were adequate, and we enjoyed having both the separate, full-sized, glass enclosed shower & dedicated tub. We partook of the ships 4 specialty restaurants on 14 of our 18 nights aboard, but had to admit that we'd had much better food at Azamara "Quest's" two specialty restaurants on 20 evenings, during an epic 56-day cruise! The Marina's Broadway-style song and dance shows were outstanding, but the rest were of little consequence. The Marina's guest lecturers were well-qualified and their topics were spot on, as were the ships afternoon movies in the main showroom (Mutiny on the Bounty, Easter Island). Easter Island was definitely the highlight of the entire cruise. All ports of call on this cruise (except Tahiti) necessitated tendering ashore. Unfortunately, the Captain opted not to let any his passengers go ashore on Pitcairn Island, due to rough surf around the island. My better half enjoyed five of the ship's $69 "Hands-On" cooking classes at the Cordon Blue Cooking Center on Deck 12. And we both enjoyed the Hands-On art classes taught by retired Art Professor Tony Turpin, right across the deck, in the ship's Artist Loft. Following disembarkation on 4 Jan, We'd booked an extra day and night ashore at a Beach Resort in Tahiti, through Oceania. Imagine our surprise, when our Oceania-contracted bus departed from the pier & quickly delivered my wife & I a mere few blocks from the ship to the rundown City Hall complex @ exactly 0815 AM. We were advised that we would be required to unload our own baggage here but would "Not Be Passing Go" and would not be scheduled to leave City Hall for the Resort UNTIL 1;20 PM. Bottom Line: we had to endure FIVE HOURS in a rundown, third world City Hall, with no air conditioning, no food, no security for our baggage, and huge conga lines waiting to use two single-stall toilets, co-mingled with hundreds of other displaced persons/Oceania passengers (including a few hundred who'd just flown in and were waiting to board the Marina!!) We'd much preferred to have been driven directly to the resort, where we could have checked our luggage into the resort's locked storage room until our rooms were ready, filled out our registration forms at our leisure, sat by the pool or on their beach, and enjoyed their food and beverages!!!! Thanks Oceania: YOU TOTALLY MANAGED TO WASTE AWAY OUR DAY IN PARADISE!!!! (We had to catch a 3 AM bus from the Resort to the Tahiti airport on 5 January!!!) Read Less
Sail Date December 2014
The Marina is a beautiful ship with large open areas. Even when the ship is completely full, as it was for us, you do not feel crowded anywhere. On the top of the ship is a running track and below it and above the pool another walking ... Read More
The Marina is a beautiful ship with large open areas. Even when the ship is completely full, as it was for us, you do not feel crowded anywhere. On the top of the ship is a running track and below it and above the pool another walking area. Unfortunately, both are without cover and provide the only options for walking outside since there is no promenade deck on this ship. Also, on the top deck you will find an 18 hole putting course, a golf driving net and a very nice coquet and shuffleboard courts. The showroom is lovely, but aside from 4 good ship company singers, the shows were not exceptional. The ship has one pool which could be larger for the number of passengers Marina carries, 1200. Unfortunately for us, this ship had no photo department nor any photographers to take pictures other than your own. Had it not been for a crew member loaning us a camera cord, we might have been very restricted in the number of digital pictures we could take and not download to our laptop. There are seven different restaurants; five are specialty which require reservations. Only one of the five, La Reserve, requires an additional charge; the rest are included in your cruise fare. The Grand Dining room and Terrace Café are both dine at any time restaurants. The Terrace Café, being the ships buffet restaurant, had a good selection most days and most selections were changed daily except there is little change at breakfast. A good and different experience was his ship's staff serve you at the buffet rather than each passenger serving themselves. We like the fact that several hundred people do not touch serving utensils but instead the ship's staff do with hands in protective gloves. Added to this protection is this ship has more than the usual number of antibacterial dispensers. Of the four specialty restaurants that do not charge extra, the Red Ginger is the only one that is not located on the ship's perimeter; it is an inside restaurant. It, like the other specialty restaurants, is nicely decorated to match the restaurant's theme which in this case is Asian. It is not a Chinese restaurant. Jacques is not a French restaurant either but it does have French dishes on the menu. The Polo Grill has the lamb, steak and some seafood items you would expect. It was very good but the meat was not cooked to order twice. Toscana, the Italian restaurant was great, and like 4 other restaurants on the ship, has many tables for two along the window walls - very romantic. The Grand Dining room was our favorite and had good menu selections almost every day. Service in all restaurants was the best we have had on any ship to date. And we enjoyed the fact that restaurants were not loud; you could even hear the overhead music. One evening we did have a couple of issues in the Grand Dining room, aside from another steak that was not cooked to order. The supervisory staff handled and resolved the problems very quickly and did more than we expected. Again, it was great service. But the food was not to that level. We found the entrées at times with little taste. The bread and deserts were exceptional, however. Oceania charges more than we are accustom to for its mixed drinks, wine by the glass and bottled wine. Sodas and bottled water are free. It also charges a lot more for its excursions vs. Cunard and Princess which were the last two cruises we took this past year before Oceania. The veranda cabin we booked on the seventh floor was a nicest cabin we can remember. It was tastefully decorated and that, combined with a large granite bathroom with tub and shower gave us daily a feeling of space that made our trip more relaxing. We had an exceptional cabin stewardess. Every day our sliding glass door was washed so we could have a good view every day. Unfortunately, upon arriving at the ship on the first day we found that our deck had an obstruction which blocked the view on the lower 14 inches of the railing. We had booked an unobstructed cabin and Oceania assured us in making our booking that it was unobstructed. This was a big issue for us because a few years ago we booked and paid for another Oceania cruise in an unobstructed cabin and when we arrived at the ship found our cabin had 40% of its balcony obstructed by decorative sheet metal. In that case Oceana did nothing for us and we were stuck with a situation. In this cruise Oceana did give us a shipboard credit, but it did not make up for 18 days looking at the obstruction and again we were stuck with it. This really impacted our enjoyment of the trip for again the ship was full and we could not move. The trust factor was lost with Oceania as a result. On this particular cruise we have a few more comments to pass on. Two days out on our 28 day cruise we were told the ship ran out of small US currency. It also did not have Chilean currency so we were in a little trouble for our stop at Easter Island because we had mostly large currency. Next, the ship's store is small for items such as toothpaste and suntan lotion. It was running out of items before we get on our 28 day cruise and we were told that it would not be replenished until the ship reached Sydney Australia; that's several cruises after ours. They had an art company on board providing art auctions on sea days. We purchased a couple of pieces and when we arrived home Oceania called us and said they were refunding our money as it canceled its agreement with the art company. We wish they would have advised us of this while we were on ship. On a positive note, there was a lot of tendering off the ship during our stops in the islands. The service was very well handled, efficient and safety was always the first order of business. From our perspective, Oceania promotes itself as a luxury cruise line and prices its cruises accordingly. During our cruise the ship's staff tried very hard to measure up to a luxury line but Oceania is not there yet. Although the service and food were good, the price for the cruise and the higher costs for alcoholic beverages and excursions did not provide good value compared to other cruise lines taken recently.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
This was our first experience traveling with Oceania. We usually choose our cruise based on the itinerary. We had always wanted to see Easter Island and Pitcairn Island so we booked the trip. Oceania was offering free air as well as free ... Read More
This was our first experience traveling with Oceania. We usually choose our cruise based on the itinerary. We had always wanted to see Easter Island and Pitcairn Island so we booked the trip. Oceania was offering free air as well as free internet and prepaid gratuities. They also offered $500 in onboard credit and our travel agent also gave us $500 in onboard credit. Even with inflated wine and drink prices we would have a hard time spending that. We chose to take a credit for the airfare and used frequent flyer mileage to get to Santiago and fly back from Papeete. This gave us a little more flexibility and allowed us to stay on for a few days at the end of the cruise. We flew down from Los Angeles on LAN Chile and we are very impressed with the service LAN offered. We spent a couple of days in Santiago pre cruise and then took the bus down to Valparaiso. The ship offered transfers but they were expensive. The bus from Santiago was about $8 and very easy to take. Very modern Mercedes buses leave about every half hour for the 2 hour trip. Check in was super easy. We were onboard about 20 minutes after we arrived. Of course our cabins were not yet ready but we hung out in the upstairs restaurant having a light lunch while we waited. It wasn’t long until we could get into our cabins and stow our carry on luggage. We then explored the ship. We mostly have cruised with Celebrity, Royal Caribbean and Holland America. We quickly noticed a big difference in that Oceania isn’t always trying to sell you extra stuff. There were no photographers trying to get you to pose for pictures. That is not to say there were not opportunities to spend money. There is a small casino but there were not really that many people playing in it. Wine was expensive (least expensive bottles were around $35 but most were closer to $50 and some were in the hundreds) When we first got on, they were selling a wine package where if you bought two bottles you got a 20% discount and if you bought 3 bottles you got a 30% discount. We had a lot of shipboard credit so we used some on wine. Our cabin was quite spacious and the bath was fantastic with full bathtub as well as shower and granite counters and tile. The shower was a bit small so it made it a bit difficult to bend down if you dropped the soap. Still it was without doubt the best bathroom of any ship we have been on. The bed was extremely comfortable and we had a large balcony. The one design drawback was the closet access was limited by the location of a bedside table. It just meant that to access it, you had to lean way over. The room stewardess kept the room made up and always seemed to have it ready by the time we returned from breakfast. One small early complaint was that they forgot to bring ice several times. After I told them I really liked having ice, my ice bucket was filled twice a day. The food. What can you say that hasn’t been said a thousand times. It was the best we have ever had on a cruise. We were allowed 4 reservations at the specialty restaurants and we visited them all. We also could make additional reservations the day of, and managed 3 more visits. Red Ginger was our favorite but I couldn’t really see the need for being offered 6 different kinds of chopsticks. If we were not at a specialty restaurant, we ate our meals in the main dining room, usually asking for a share table. We met so many interesting people over dinner. The cliental on this ship were very well traveled. One dinner we sat with a couple that were taking their 53rd cruise and the other couple were on their 35th. Many dinners extended beyond 2 hours, partly due to the interesting conversations, and partly due to the wait staff not hurrying you to clear your table for more diners. In fact the main restaurant was rarely crowded. Many people were in the specialty restaurants and people in more of a hurry were eating in the buffet. We did eat in the buffet one night and it was very good for a buffet but it still didn’t have the elegance of the main dining room where you were treated like royalty and waited on. Still, the food at the buffet in the evening was just as good as the food in the main dining room, with lobster tails available every evening – not something we had experienced on any other cruise. The tours. We arranged tours for Easter Island and Bora Bora in advance with local tour companies. They cost less than half what the ship was charging and we saw a lot more. The only advantage I could see with a ship tour is you had priority for the tenders. We did take the “Le truck” bus tour around the island on our second day in Bora Bora but that was because we had extra shipboard credit to use up. The shops. They supplied the ship when they were in Barcelona so by the time the ship got to Valparaiso, there was not all that much available to buy in regards to clothes. They had a lot of high end jewelry but overall, the shops were small with limited selection. And we were surprised that there was no liquor store on board. Wine was available for purchase but that was the only alcohol. We were pleasantly surprised that they had a very good bridge program onboard. They had two excellent bridge instructors who taught lessons and then every afternoon on sea days, they had a duplicate game. We usually had 12 tables and they gave out ACBL points if you were an ACBL member. One disappointment was we never got to land on Pitcairn island. I had read prior to the cruise that usually the ships don’t land passengers due to the difficult harbor and the changing sea conditions but we had hopes we might be the lucky ones. Alas, we were not. A group of Pitcairn islanders did come out to the ship and they set up a bazaar in the observation lounge where they sold all sorts of stuff they make on the island. (honey, moisturizing cream, wood carvings, stamps, postcards, T-shirts and a whole lot more) They are trying to build a new harbor on the lee side of the island but for now, if you go to Pitcairn and want to actually land, you better go on a smaller boat and pray for absolute calm sea conditions. Entertainment was only so so. They had one show at 9:45 each night.. I liked the magician and have no idea how he did what he did. I was very disappointed in one of the comics as his material bordered on racism as he mocked the accents of Latinos. I just thought it had no place in a show, especially one that sailed from Chile and had lots of Spanish speaking folks on board. The music was sort of hit and miss. They had one lady who had been in a number of Broadway shows and she could really belt out a song. I kind of look at the entertainment as sort of a bonus. You don’t take an Oceania cruise for the shows. My overall impression of the cruise was very favorable. It was a little more expensive than what we were used to but the value was there. I will sail with Oceania again if I find a cruise that has an interesting itinerary at a time that fits my schedule.   Read Less
Sail Date December 2013
Marina Ratings
Category Editor Member
Cabins 4.5 4.5
Dining 4.5 4.5
Entertainment 3.0 3.1
Public Rooms 5.0 4.6
Fitness Recreation 4.0 4.0
Family 1.0 4.0
Shore Excursion 4.0 3.1
Enrichment 5.0 3.6
Service 4.0 4.5
Value For Money 4.0 3.8
Rates 4.0 3.9

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